In an August 1 article, Archbishop Gregory speaks about divisive and disrespectful speech and specifically mentions his meeting with the leadership of the Knights of Columbus within the Jurisdiction and his call to us at our recent installation to be caretakers of unity and fraternity.
Our faith teaches us that respect for people of every race, religion, gender, ethnicity and background are requirements of fundamental human dignity and basic decency. This include newcomers to our country, people who have differing political views and people who may be different from us. Comments which dismiss, demean or demonize any of God’s children are destructive of the common good and a denial of our national pledge of “liberty and justice for all.”
I have recently met with leaders of the Knights of Columbus and many lay ecclesial movements in the Archdiocese. We discussed what we can do together to advance our Gospel mission. I encouraged them and their members to seek to promote respect for all, the common good and humble dialogue in a time of growing and destructive divisions. This request builds on the good work and outstanding service of the Knights and these exemplary lay movements in our family of faith and our Washington community. I asked their help in lifting up and defending the dignity of every person, promoting respect, civility and principled discussion of what unites us and where we may differ. We all need to reject racism, disrespect or brutality in speech and action.
I want to share this appeal with all of the faithful of this local Church and with our neighbors in this community we share. We must all take responsibility to reject language that ridicules, condemns, or vilifies another person because of their race, religion, gender, age, culture or ethnic background. Such discourse has no place on the lips of those who confess Christ or who claim to be civilized members of society. Speech that vilifies or denigrates another is a violation of the humanity of the speaker and those to whom it is directed – and deprives each of us of our God-given dignity. We must reclaim, reshape and refocus the national conversation on how we protect and promote the lives and dignity of all, especially, the least of these” (Matthew 25.)